Ships and boats

From the story of the world's only surviving tea clipper, Cutty Sark, and the voyages of discovery made by Captain Cook's sloop HMS Resolution, to the evolution of shipbuilding and design through the ages, we delve into the fascinating history of ships and boats.

The rating system of the British Royal Navy was used to categorise warships between the 17th and 19th centuries. There were six rates of warship.

Sir Francis Chichester (1901–1972) was a British sailor and aviator, famed for being the first person to single-handedly sail around the world making only one stop.

Mauretania was in her day the biggest and fastest – not to mention most luxurious – ship on the seas.

In the 17th and 18th centuries there were six Royal Navy Dockyards in England, at Deptford, Woolwich, Chatham, Sheerness, Portsmouth and Plymouth.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806–1859) was a renowned 19th century engineer. His achievements include the steamships Great Western, Great Britain and Great Eastern.

Toll for the brave – the story of the Royal George and how it went down in a home port with huge loss of life.

Yinka Shonibare MBE explores colonialism and post-colonialism in his art. Nelson's Ship in a Bottle was acquired by the NMM in 2012.

William Bligh was an officer in the Royal Navy and was the victim of a mutiny on his ship, the Bounty, in 1789.

In the 18th century the Royal Navy began using copper sheathing to protect their ships from teredo worm, also known as shipworm.

Models of many of the Royal Navy’s ships were constructed by order of the Royal Navy Board, many of which still survive today. 

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